Germantown - After consulting legal experts, the Germantown School District held firm to its intention to drop long-term care through WEA Trust for its current employees. According to WEA Trust, if current employees no longer receiver long-term care benefits, then retired staff could also no longer receive that same benefit.
Board members had asked for a determination if current and potential retirees would have a strong case in a lawsuit against the district if such coverage is dropped. A legal opinion from Buelow Vetter Buikema Olson and Vliet stated that current retirees certainly fell under the confines of the collectively bargained agreement and had an expectation of long-term care as a benefit.
Furthermore, current employees, having vested years of service toward retirement also had a case that dropping long-term care would be grounds for a lawsuit.
On the other hand, if a new plan were found, it could satisfy the requirements under the previously bargained agreement if the new plan was commensurate in benefits to the old plan.
In December, the Germantown School Board voted to drop WEA Trust for long-term care and a notice was given to the trust stating the district's intention. Earlier this month, in the interest of giving the district more time to find a suitable replacement, the drop date for WEA Trust was pushed to March 1.
Several School Board members have stated support for some kind of long-term care benefit, but that WEA Trust was not the most prudent of carriers. Others have been less insistent on making a change.
According to Superintendent Sue Borden, the district has sent a new letter to WEA, giving notice of the district's intent to change the drop date. Borden said she'd recently received confirmation from the trust of that letter.
No discussions about the bidding process for a new long-term care insurer have been made at the board level. Germantown does have an insurance consultant, hired this summer when the district bid out its base health insurance.
The district decided that remaining with WEA Trust for health insurance, at a significantly lower cost, was the most prudent option, but will have the option to opt out for next year.
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